The cash price of a gallon of heating oil is displayed on the back of a CN Brown truck in this March 2022 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

It’s only the beginning of December, but the CEO of the Aroostook County Action Program says his agency is getting hundreds of requests from residents in need of heating assistance.

Jason Parent says on Monday alone, the agency received 400 requests. He’s grateful that Gov. Janet Mills’ energy relief plan includes $10 million for community action programs to distribute for emergency assistance. But he’s concerned about whether his program will receive enough funding to meet the needs of Aroostook County residents.

“We’ve already given out over $20,000 in emergency fuel here in the last couple of weeks,” he says. “And those dollars are going to be gone really quickly. We’re burning through them at a much faster rate this year.”

Parent says it’s also critical that community action programs have the ability to distribute emergency funds quickly.

All income levels are challenged, he says, and he also supports the plan to provide direct relief payments of $450 to an estimated 880,000 eligible Mainers.

“I fear that there’s a donut hole right now in terms of households who have never had to rely on assistance programs before who are frankly struggling right now to make ends meet.”

This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.